The food log: The basis for successful weight loss

Those who want to lose weight successfully, at least at the beginning, can not avoid keeping a food log. Because most people cannot estimate how many calories they actually consume. "I do not know why I am overweight," they say, "because I don't eat much!"

Little snacks, sweets and soft drinks slip on into the menu. Even a glass of iced tea or a banana -- no matter how healthy it may seem -- contain calories and influence the energy balance. The calculation is quite simple: Whoever burns more energy than he or she eats, loses weight and vice versa. How many calories a person burns per day depends on age, current weight, metabolism and, of course, exercise. Exercise is not only about the calories consumed, but also the activation and production of the enzymes needed to burn fat. If the body is never challenged, it has no need to reach into its fat reserves and "forgets" about burning fat. That is why regular exercise - at least every other day for 30 minutes - is so important.

Young woman with mobile phone having breakfast

Why is a food log so important?

By keeping a food log, eating habits become clear. One realizes how much of a food has been consumed and to which calorie content it corresponds. Here surprises can be expected. Because when it comes to satiety, the amount of food consumed in weight is crucial and not the calorie count. For example, if you eat 200 g (1 cup) of vegetables and 150 g (5.3 oz) of lean meat, you have consumed just 200 calories. Compare this to a sandwich with bread (200 g/7 oz), butter (40 g/1.5 oz), sausage (60 g/2 oz) and cheese (50 g/1.8 oz), which comes in at a whopping 1,150 calories. Only with the food log can one clarify what one has eaten in the course of a day and thus has more control over time over a nutritional overhaul.

A food log can be really fun!

Granted, carrying a list around all day long and writing down what you eat can be quite boring, not to mention the effort involved in calculating the respective calorie content. How about an app? The mobile phone is always around and an app may satisfy an instinct to play. You can also connect with friends and derive additional motivation through competition. One such app is MyFitnessPal.

Goal of diet change

The aim of a diet change is to turn the old eating habits into new ones. To do this, our brain needs a few weeks to adopt the new approach as a habit. If we have succeeded in making the new diet a habit, we have won. The decisive factor in any diet change is that, despite weight loss, sufficient satiety and individual tastes are taken into account. Food is an elementary need and the social factor should not be underestimated. Only those who eat enough and enjoy the food will accept a new form of eating as a habit.

The time factor

Set yourself achievable goals and give yourself time. Eating habits that have been followed for decades will not be easily discarded within a few weeks. It takes varying amounts of time for a diet change to become routine. New habits have to be introduced that do not require much thought, as with brushing your teeth or driving a car. Until this point is reached, the food log will be a great help and will also help to ensure the right food choices. As long as the pointer on the scale shows fewer pounds, you are done everything right. If the weight loss tapers off, meal composition must be considered. Remember, this is not about speed, but about achieving a satisfactory quality of life despite change.

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